- Touch Rugby to continue through the winter on Hounslow
- RFU's Touch London project credited with improving well-being and fitness
Photo: RFU Archive
A group of staff working for the London Borough of Hounslow have enjoyed their first taste of touch rugby so much that they are going to keep on playing during the winter months thanks to funding from the RFU’s Touch London project.
Touch London is designed with the specific aim of giving employees in the public and private sectors the chance to improve their fitness and have fun by playing touch rugby in and around their working days.
The easy-to-play non-contact version of the sport was recognised as a good idea by the London Borough of Hounslow, who registered their interest to get involved in Touch London in September.
After advertising and promoting the hour-long sessions during the Rugby World Cup in October, the local authority had requests from more than 30 staff members to give touch rugby a try.
Many of them had never played rugby before and they enjoyed the four-week programme in the local park so much that they have found a floodlit facility nearby to keep the sessions going.
With Rugby Football Union support, Hounslow have been able to secure a floodlit facility at Heston Community School for touch rugby sessions to take place every month for the next four months.
Phillip Austen-Reed, Health and Wellbeing Commissioning Manager for the London Borough of Hounslow, helped organise the sessions and said of the Touch London programme: "I have thanked the RFU for giving us this introduction to Touch Rugby which is a great way for our staff to improve their fitness and wellbeing.
"We were really pleased with the numbers and the mix of people that came along, everyone really enjoyed it and the bonus of having free taster sessions from RFU staff was priceless."
Phil Duffy, the RFU’s lead on Touch London backed by £115,000 of funding from the Mayor of London’s Sports Legacy Fund, said: "We think the way that Hounslow let their staff know about Touch London, and then had such a big take-up for the free taster sessions run by one of our coaches, was a fantastic example of how this project can work to everyone’s benefit.
"Playing touch rugby is easy, and a one-hour session can be fitted in at almost any venue at lunchtimes or before or after work. We’re hoping more and more workplaces follow Hounslow’s example and get involved with Touch London."